Learning (or building upon) any skill typically comes with a series of epiphanies — a collection of AHA! moments that push you closer and closer to mastery.
This October I found one of these moments in the golf swing (via Ben Hogan) that immediately lowered my scores and improved my stats. In many ways it now feels like an obvious swing thought that I overlooked for far too long.
Here’s the lesson: Hogan prefaces his instruction by saying the most important detail is the movement of the lower body from the top of the swing.1 In other words, use your hip rotation (and weight-transfer to the left side) to initiate the downswing:
You’ll notice that Hogan nearly completes his downswing without making any movement with his upper body. His hip rotation performs about 80% of the work alone.
I notice this feeling most when my hips (nearly) face square to the target by the time I reach impact. This way my hands/arms just need to release down the target line with no extra movement needed elsewhere.
So (as is often the case) the surrounding theme of a great swing is one of simplicity.
More from Hogan:
- Extended version of the above video tip (also includes helpful tips from Sam Snead)
- Hogan/Tiger swing analysis (from PGA swing coach Wayne Defranceso)
In many writings/interviews Hogan actually references two critical motions in the swing: (1) the downswing action mentioned above, and (2) the initial takeaway from address. Still, the one mentioned here is certainly the most overlooked. ↩